Collaborative Research: Cultural Validation of Geoscience Assessment

Project: Research project

Project Details


Collaborative Research: Cultural Validation of Geoscience Assessment Collaborative Research: Cultural Validation of Geoscience Assessment We propose an Improving Public Earth System Science Literacy project to culturally validate geoscience assessments for geographically and culturally distinct Native American populations. This project will work within existing networks of tribal and university scholars, faculty and students to fill a need for culturally-relevant assessment that complements place-based curriculum and instructional practices. Cultural validation of geoscience assessment will (1) contribute to more equitable assessment of students in higher-education geoscience, (2) provide educators with a relevant means for assessing their students conceptual understanding, (3) involve educators in designing assessment appropriate for diverse students and (4) contribute to a conversation about diversity in assessment for the larger science education community. Intellectual Merit: Curriculum development efforts have looked to integrate diverse cultural perspectives as a means to enhance participation from underrepresented groups in the geosciences,. Place-based content and pedagogy are advocated as a way to weave such perspectives into Earth system science curricula. Recent efforts have focused on developing place-based curriculum and instructional strategies much more than on developing authentic assessment to complement these activities. To fill an assessment need in place-based education, this project will create place-based, culturally-responsive geoscience assessment through development of open-ended questions and cultural validation of Geoscience Concept Inventory (GCI) questions. We have carefully considered our goals, and strongly believe that the proposed effort is an excellent fit to the GeoEd program. This project addresses the priority investment areas put forth by Improving Public Earth System Science Literacy: (1) Development of place-based assessment looks to engage diverse student populations in learning geoscience by leveraging local knowledge, (2) Concept question content will be grounded in interview data from tribal experts, educators and students but will also address the Big Ideas and Supporting Concepts put forth by the Earth Science Literacy Initiative, (3) As part of this collaborative work, this project will provide in-service training to tribal college educators in assessment design, including proper question layout, language use, and importance of cultural and communication validity, and (4) The project establishes new relationships between tribal college and university educators and leverages existing networks to help facilitate access to research-based educational assessment in the geosciences. Ultimately, new concept questions will become part of the NSF-funded GCI WebCenter (DUE-0717790) and undergo additional validation from expert and student populations. Broader Impacts: This collaborative project invites participation from tribal cultural experts and the tribal college community to create culturally-relevant assessment for their students. Participants from the Blackfeet Community College, Dine College, Arizona State University and Michigan State University have the opportunity to develop a culturally and geographically diverse network of educators focused on improving geoscience education. The proposed work incorporates a proven research methodology in designing open-ended and concept questions to assess students conceptual understanding for use within these specific geographic, demographic, and cultural contexts. This development framework can be used as a model in designing culturally valid assessment for other regionally-distinct student populations. Concept questions resulting from this collaborative work can be shared immediately via the NSF-funded GCI WebCenter, providing a venue for dissemination of the new, place-based concept questions to a variety of institutions around the globe. Furthermore, tribal college educators can author questions and expand upon the existing GCI in
Effective start/end date10/1/109/30/14


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $59,311.00


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